Returning to the venue of his previous PB and 2017 victory, Norway’s Havard Haukenes (50km race walk world rank: 24) convincingly won the men’s 50km race walk at the Dudince 50 on Saturday (23), clocking a lifetime best of 3:42:50.
His winning mark was well inside the qualifying time for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It is also just 94 seconds shy of the Norwegian record set by Trond Nymark when winning the 2009 world title.
Haukenes was part of a lead group of eight men during the early stages, covering the first five kilometres in a steady 22:55. The pack was whittled down to six men at 10 kilometres, reached in 45:25, before Finland’s Veli-Matti Partanen (50km race walk world rank: 40) attempted to make an early break.
Partanen, the runner-up in Dudince last year, held on to the lead until just before half way when Haukenes took up pole position. The 25-kilometre split of 1:52:05 suggested the leaders were set for a finishing time well inside the Olympic qualifying mark (3:50).
By 30 kilometres (2:14:17), Haukenes’ lead had grown to 10 seconds. Ecuador’s Andres Chocho moved through the field into first place for a brief moment but then withdrew from the race, having covered 35 kilometres.
From that point onwards, the top three athletes – Haukenes, Partanen and Poland’s Rafal Augustyn (50km race walk world rank: 11) – maintained their positions. While Haukenes continued to extend his lead to the finish, Augustyn was gradually gaining on Partanen in the closing stages.
Haukenes eventually crossed the line in 3:42:50, winning by four minutes and four seconds from Partanen (3:46:54), who finished just 10 seconds ahead of Augustyn. Italy’s Teodorico Caporaso replicated his position from last year’s World Race Walking Team Championships, placing fourth in 3:49:14.
Slovakian Olympian Maria Czakova (50km race walk world rank: 11) successfully defended her title in the women’s 50km race walk.
South American record-holder Erica de Sena, the fourth-place finisher over 20km at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, was making her debut over 50km and the early signs were promising. The Brazilian led for much of the first half, passing 10 kilometres in 50:17 and 20 kilometres in 1:41:20.
By that point, though, her lead was reducing with each lap and she was caught by Czakova after about 21.5 kilometres. De Sena withdrew a few minutes later, leaving Czakova a comfortable leader over Croatia’s Ivana Renic.
Czakova’s leading margin reduced slightly in the second half, but she ended up winning by a similar margin to Haukenes, clocking 4:16:33. Renic finished second in a national record of 4:20:17, well inside the World Championships qualifying standard of 4:30.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF
1 Havard Haukenes (NOR) 3:42:50
2 Veli-Matti Partanen (FIN) 3:46:54
3 Rafal Augustyn (POL) 3:47:04
4 Teodorico Caporaso (ITA) 3:49:14
5 Rafal Fedaczynski (POL) 3:50:41
6 Jarkko Kinnunen (FIN) 3:51:16
7 Cameron Corbishley (GBR) 3:53:20
8 Matt Bilodeau (CAN) 3:53:36
1 Maria Czakova (SVK) 4:16:33
2 Ivana Renic (CRO) 4:20:17
3 Agnieszka Ellward (POL) 4:40:24
4 Paulina Buziak-Smiatacz (POL) 4:41:02
5 Federica Curiazzi (ITA) 4:43:36
6 Elianay Pereira (BRA) 4:44:38
7 Antonina Lorek (POL) 4:47:54
8 Andrea Kovacs (HUN) 4:50:17